Even as the GMO battle still rages, a new brouhaha is brewing. This time, it's all about water.
We've already seen it bubbling up on Maui, where folks are challenging A&B's longstanding diversion of East Maui streams, in part through litigation that exposed deficiencies in the revocable permit process that the Legislature addressed last session.
Kauai activists have also tried to pump it up as an issue, first with unsuccessful attempts to have Lihue declared a ground-surface water management area and later through vandalism and false claims about the Wailua diversion.
Now, in a throwback to the 2013 Earth Week “pollinators and pesticides” panel that gave Kauai anti-GMO activists Gary Hooser and Fern Rosenstiel a platform for pushing Bill 2491, Kauai Community College is hosting a Thursday afternoon panel discussion on water.
It's not completely clear who is actually sponsoring the event, though Josh Fukino, an instructional support specialist at KCC, sent out the emails solicting speakers. What is clear is that it's not intended to be an honest debate:
There will be only one question presented for discussion and the goal is to come up with some solutions that all stakeholders can agree upon.
The waters of Wailua, Waikoko, Ili'ili'ula, Wai'aka, "iole, and Waiahi are taken and used by a few entities. But the public at large, and certain people and places with standing, have constitutionally protected rights to those waters in their free flowing state and for other uses. What do you reccomend [sic] be done to assure that these constitutional rights are fullfilled, within the lifetime of some of the kupuna asking for them (<5 font="" years="">5>
Sorta like asking, when did you stop beating your wife? Is everybody supposed to agree, with no debate, on the premise that people have constitutionally protected rights to waters in their free flowing state? What's more, it's not likely to “come up with some solutions that all stakeholders can agree upon” because the key stakeholder — Grove Farm — is not participating, largely because they correctly perceived it as a witch hunt.
Other participants include Adam Asquith, who was a player in both the water management area bid and inflammatory emails that were circulating prior to the Wailua diversion vandalism.
The week's events began yesterday with a talk by defeated state House candidate Tiare Lawrence, who was billed as a “Maui Aloha 'Āina warrior and HAPA Community Organizer” speaking about “Maui water struggles and protection of coastal resources.”
Never mind that she has no expertise on those topics. This is all about pushing an agenda, a particular point of view, at a publicly-funded community college. And how, exactly, does that help students develop critical thinking?
Speaking of which, Big Island Sen. Josh Green — a foe of modern agriculture — is eying a run for lieutenant governor. Is he seeking the job because it involves so little work that the current occupant wants out due to boredom?
Whatever, it seems like a great idea to get him out of the Senate, where he takes bizarre anti-science positions, such as “fixing” farming by restricting its access to agricultural chemicals.
Hmm. Maybe he could work on classifying homelessness as a medical condition, so doctors can prescribe housing. How might that work? (And parenthetically, how much would it cost?) That should keep him busy with something useful for a while.
And finally, Jan TenBruggencate has an interesting piece on mosquitoes in his Raising Islands blog. As he noted:
Mosquitoes are not native to Hawaii, but we’ve got them, and new evidence is that they’re growing increasingly dangerous.
Hawaii now has eight mosquito species, he reports, and they're spreading a number of diseases, including dengue and Zika, which has already caused severe birth defects —most commonly, a deformed brain — in dozens of American babies. And Hawai`i has had 16 reported cases of Zika, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
In other words, real danger, real threat. Yet as Jan notes:
Not to make too much of this, but two key weapons in attacking mosquito-borne illness are targeted insecticides and genetic modifications to impact mosquito populations. And in Hawai`i, both insecticides and genetic modification are being targeted by activists for entire bans or limitations on use of these products and technologies. Thus far, the Legislature and the courts have held off these movements.
So does it really serve the public interest to highlight these misguided movements with lop-sided presentations at KCC?